After World War I, in which the Austria-Hungarian
Empire lost, Czechoslovakia (a union of modern-day Czech
Republic and Slovakia) was formed in 1918. The
country began falling apart in 1938 as ethnic minority groups began seeking independence.
As Nazi German power rose, the Sudetenlands (in Czech Republic)
were taken by the Germans without much fight as Czechoslovakia united with the Nazis
to prevent further violence. Slovakia was also home to a large number of Jews at
this time and the Germans killed these people, forever altering the ethnic makeup
After World War II Czechoslovakia elected the communist party to power with little
influence from the Soviet Union, although once elected, the communists were closely
aligned with and controlled by the Soviets. Under Soviet rule, Czechoslovakia faced
both industrialization and rationing, as they were forced to remain at odds with
the world to the west. This pressure built until 1968 when the
Czech's protested (called Prague Spring), but they were quickly put
In 1989 Czechoslovakia gained independence and the two regions of the
Czech Republic and Slovakia decided to separate,
creating a peaceful Velvet Revolution in 1993.
Since this time both the Czech Republic and
Slovakia have been close allies as each has developed at different paces
and in different industries. In 2004 both the Czech Republic and Slovakia joined
the European Union (EU) and in 2009 Slovakia adopted the Euro.